THE RAYS and A ONE WAY
TICKET TO "MANNY-WOOD" ...
Dice-K makes it 7-0 as the Sox sweep
In the second game of today's day-night doubleheader, the Red Sox and
Milwaukee Brewers combined to commit seven errors in a span of 13
outs, the most errors made in a big league game this season. And then
a classic bit of defensive deftness rescued the Sox and preserved
what became a 5-3, 7-6 sweep of the Brewers.
With two on
and one out in the eighth, Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia grabbed Corey
Hart's smash, whirled, and threw to second, where shortstop Alex Cora flashed
across the bag and gunned out Hart at first to complete the inning-ending double
play. The most grateful recipient of that glove work was Sox reliever Javier
Lopez, whose stumbling effort on Ryan Braun's tapper to the mound had resulted
in the game's seventh error, a mistake he compounded by walking Prince Fielder.
The Sox already had blown a 5-0 lead, Craig Hansen undone by Mike Lowell's
throwing error and a tough error charged to Cora on a high chopper before giving
up a two-run single to Craig Counsell that gave the Brewers a 6-5 lead in the
But not to
be outdone in generosity were the Brewers. Second baseman Rickie Weeks couldn't
handle Jacoby Ellsbury's leadoff grounder in the bottom of the inning and was
charged with an error. Pedroia followed with a ground ball to third baseman Bill
Hall, who threw wildly to second base, both runners advancing a base. David
Ortiz brought home the tying run with a grounder to short, and a bloop single by
Kevin Youkilis into short right field scored Pedroia with what proved to be the
doubleheader sweep, which improved the Sox' interleague record to 30-8 since the
start of 2006, restored the Sox to a virtual first-place tie with Tampa Bay, a
9-8 loser to the Cardinals.
tidily dispatched the Brewers in the first game to end a four-game losing
streak. They did it behind Daisuke Matsuzaka, who is now pitching like a guy
worthy of all the fuss. Matsuzaka ran his record to 7-0 to become the American
League's second seven-game winner and the only one who is undefeated. He was
backed by Ortiz's three-run home run.
right-hander also lowered his earned run average to 2.15, which placed him third
in the league in the category, by limiting the Brewers to two unearned runs,
coming in the seventh on a home run by Mike Cameron after the rarest of Sox
miscues, an error by Youkilis. Not to worry: Youkilis's record errorless streak
at his primary position, first base, remains intact - 222 games and counting
after Game 2. Youkilis's error might have been called a hit by a more charitable
scorer. He gloved a hot smash by Weeks with two out and nobody on in the
seventh, but the ball popped out of his glove, just long enough for the swift
Weeks to beat Youkilis's throw across the diamond.
followed with a first-pitch home run off Matsuzaka over the Monster and the
Brewers had halved the Sox' lead, Boston having scored four times in the first
two innings off Jeff Suppan.
followed Cameron's home run with a line single, Francona elected to bring in
Lopez to face Fielder, the Brewers' slugger having already bashed two doubles
off Matsuzaka. Lopez, pitching in a situation ordinarily reserved for Hideki
Okajima, who has complained of a sore wrist, walked Fielder and yielded to Manny
Delcarmen, who is slowly working his way back into Francona's good graces.
induced Hart to hit into an inning-ending force play, then worked a scoreless
eighth before giving way to Jonathan Papelbon. By then, the Sox had added
another run on doubles by Jason Varitek and Ellsbury, and thus were better
positioned to withstand Braun's solo home run off Papelbon with two outs in the
The save was
Papelbon's 12th, and came with a flourish not of the closer's making.
made three defensive changes at the start of the inning: He put Lowell in at
third, replaced Sean Casey with Youkilis at first, and installed Alex Cora at
short for Lugo. All three turned in a defensive gem. Lowell ranged far to his
left to snag a grounder by Weeks. Youkilis went to the lip of the Sox dugout to
catch Cameron's pop fly. Cora ran into short left field to make a basket catch
of Fielder's blooper for the final out of the game.